Intensive, targeted support
using family intervention.

What is family intervention?

We developed the first family intervention programme in Dundee in 1995 – aimed at reducing anti-social behaviour. This type of family support is now used across the country and we’re the largest voluntary provider.

Family intervention helps vulnerable families who may be facing issues such as:

  • poor physical and mental health;
  • domestic violence;
  • substance misuse;
  • a lack of basic and life skills;
  • behavioural problems.

It provides a tailored response to a family’s specific circumstances. This is done through a key worker who works with the whole family in their own home to identify needs and address problems, and reduce offending or antisocial behaviour.

Family intervention can include the use of parenting programmes and usually involves other services or agencies including housing, social services, youth offending, health, police and education. Helping the family deal with multiple agencies and co-ordinating their involvement in the best interests of the family is one of the main benefits of the project.

As part of family intervention, we offer family group conferencing. This is about providing a safe, confidential place for families to come to during a time of conflict, where they can make important decisions and plan how they’ll support their child, and each other, in future. This may be because of divorce or separation, problem behaviour or other issues. It helps parents take responsibility for protecting their child during difficult times – emotionally, physically and intellectually. We let them make their own decisions and create their own support plan. In this way it strengthens family relationships.

What does family intervention achieve?

With the right support and incentives, family intervention can help families integrate with their community and give their children a better chance in life.

We’ve successfully used family intervention to support families in:

  • keeping children safe and out of the care system;
  • keeping young people out of custody;
  • improving children’s relationships;
  • reducing anti-social behaviour;
  • improving educational attendance and attainment;
  • preventing homelessness;
  • alleviating child poverty.

Family intervention projects offer excellent value for money as they considerably reduce both short- and long-term costs of many agencies, including housing, criminal justice, policing, education and health.

But they also offer huge benefits to families – helping keep them together and improve their quality of life and their prospects – and to society, by making neighbourhoods and communities safer and more pleasant places.

Find out more by reading our report Intensive family support: the evidence

Does it work?

Yes. Research carried out between February 2007 and October 2009 found that the lives of over 1000 families and their communities significantly improved after involvement in a Family Intervention Project. There was a

  • 64% reduction in anti-social behaviour;
  • 58% reduction in truancy, exclusion and bad behaviour;
  • 70% reduction in drug and substance misuse;
  • 53% reduction in alcoholism.

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